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Monday, January 26, 2004
 
Poker? I Don’t Even Know Her.
Saturday night, I finally had the opportunity to sit in on another poker game. I’d missed a few Texas Hold ‘Em get-togethers. The last one I went to was my best showing, winning $10 (not counting the pile of nickels I left in the pot when I departed).

Now, as it was pointed out Saturday night, our poker games have little in common with the ones you see on The World Series of Poker or Celebrity Poker. Besides the fact that we’re not playing with thousand-dollar chips or donating our winnings to our favorite charities. The biggest difference is that, in our games, bluffing usually doesn’t stand. Someone usually steps up to “keep him (or her) honest,” unless he or she is holding total shit, or the bet is outrageously high.

Now, knowing that people I play against could be reading this, I will reveal my strategy. First of all, I try and pay to see the “flop” (those first three cards). Even if I’m holding really bad cards. That’s because I’ve played too many hands where I’ve been holding bad cards and folded, only to see both of my cards pair up in the flop. So, unless someone raises to thin the herd, I’ll try and stay in. The other thing is that I rarely bluff. I might do it once or twice a game but, as has been shown, bluffs are often called at that table, so why bother? (I don’t want to get into a $10 pissing match over a broken straight.)

I showed up Saturday night with a mini Crown Royal bag full of $20 in quarters. (I also had a plastic grocery bag full of loose beers . . . two Yuenglings and two Mic Lights.) The night started out in typical fashion, with me losing about half my money in the span of 30 minutes. I even pulled out some paper money (read: real money) to bet with. My turnaround began when I threw a $5 bill in on someone’s ridiculous raise, and I won. From then on, I was winning fairly regularly. It was around that time that I let everyone know that I was leaving around midnight. I tried to shed some of my winnings over the next hour, but to no avail.

So, I ended up staying until after 2 a.m. And despite chasing stupid hands, betting on stupid cards, and calling stupid raises, I kept winning. It was one of those nights I’d been waiting for my entire “career.” The cards were all going my way. Winning two hands in a row with three 8’s became a joke for the rest of the night morning. Somehow, along the way, I earned the nickname, “Seabiscuit.”

All told, I walked out between $45 and $50 ahead. (I had $56 in quarters, plus a lot of half-dollar and dollar coins.) I was immediately invited to play this Friday, which I don’t think I’ll be able to make. But I did make a $10 Super Bowl bet with one of the guys (I gave him 7 points on the Panthers).

The moral of the story is: After playing poker for several nights, and losing $10 to $20 each night, you’re eventually gonna win some of that back all at once. And it’s gonna feel good.

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p.s. – I mailed off the rest of the CDs from last year, so I’m caught up now. (Except for yours, Ms. JAB.)